Is raw right for us? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Is raw right for us?

I mentioned in my introduction post that we have two cats (and two dogs that aren't really relevant here....). One cat, Ollie, has UTIs quite often, stressy cat, almost died of crystals when he was very young (he is about 12 now!), and isn't a huge water drinker. We also have Hemi, who is a bit of a binge-purge eater if given the chance, and can be bullyish trying to steal Ollie's food, Ollie lost a bunch of weight, either from Hemi's food stealing, or from the discomfort of the bladder problems...maybe both. We're working on this by doing scheduled meal times, and actually supervising them while they eat (not used to that, a bit of a pain, but necessary).

We are considering raw for several reasons. First off is Ollie and his drinking issue, we're thinking home-made raw could help really fulfill his water intake, also we should be able to keep some fairly high levels of protein while also providing a good source of protein. We are also hoping it could help Hemi lose some weight (while also Ollie gains some....hopefully). We're also thinking home made raw might be a bit less expensive than going canned.

Now, Ollie has NOT been diagnosed with kidney disease/failure, though I highly suspect if it has not started it could be on the way. My concern there is that I have read many places suggesting kidney disease cats should not be on raw...

As far as the entire raw consideration goes, there are some needs for the humans here too....I mentioned the cost (putting out the initial for any supplements isn't a big deal, but we can't spend tons regularly). Also, we need relatively simple....there seem to be SO many considerations and calculations that can be done. We don't want to do that, not out of laziness (though I admit there is a bit), but more out of the concern over making a mistake! Our vet seems vehemently against it....she mentions having people coming in whose cats are lacking in so many nutrients, I think, given a good set of recipes we can prevent that problem (can we?). She is also worried about it being sanitary, both for humans and animals, but I' confident we can address that safely (I work in a lab....I understand decontamination well).

So, that's the background and my thoughts on it. Are my thoughts on the vet's concerns correct? I don't often go contrary to vet's advice....but I know there are many "camps" out there regarding nutrition, and some vets aren't the best authority. Is it safe to try Ollie on a raw diet, is my logic supporting it right? Could it help Hemi lose weight? Can it be done with a few recipes (including supplements), in a relatively simple/cost-effective way?

Input and food for thought would be really appreciated. There is so much conflicting information out there, anything that can help me make an educated decision would be wonderful! Sorry this is so long, I just wanted to give all of the information I could TIA
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 11:04 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Troy, NY
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I would recommend reading through this website:

Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health

Here is that website's section on making raw/homemade food:

Making Cat Food by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: homemade cat food, cat food recipes

I would print out that section, plus the front page of the site and bring both in to your vet (and watch her jaw drop as she learns some things she was never taught in vet school!). This website is owned by a vet who specializes in feline nutrition and who has been feeding her own cats raw/homemade food for over a decade:

The Origin of by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM :: How came to be (you may want to show this page to your vet as well).

If your vet still is not on board with a raw diet even after reading what an *acknowledged expert* has to say about the subject, I would suggest finding a new vet who does get it.

Last edited by AutumnRose74; 02-11-2014 at 11:07 AM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 12:26 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I came across the Feline Nutrition page, but the other ones I hadn't found, thanks for those links!
Our vet (she is a relatively new vet for us, since we moved a year or so ago), seems to be a pretty decent lady, she is younger, and fairly open minded. I think her major paranoia comes from those who just "go raw", as in feed their cats whatever raw food they can find without thinking of the supplements. I can't blame her for that! I have a feeling with printouts she'll come around, at very least she'll likely want to monitor Ollie (if not Hemi as well) periodically to make sure they are staying healthy on it....something I would be perfectly fine with!

The Catinfo site I think my husband came across (bonus having him on board with this), but didn't delve in too far. It is absolutely excellent! I appreciate that she is very realistic, and does a great cost break down. I think that one could become a major go-to for us if we do this switch.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 12:45 PM
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You don't really need to supplement if you do a franken-prey model raw. The reason ground diets add so many supplements is because grinding breaks down the meat and you lose some of the great nutrients through exposure to the air.

My vet (whom I LOVE) was hesitant at first too, mostly because she'd met a few people who thought feeding their pet raw meant plunking down a steak every day...not a complete diet for ANYONE.

Frankenprey raw goes by the basic idea that you want to feed: 80% muscle meat (cuts we would eat, heart, ect), 10% edible bone (chicken wings, necks, ribs, ect), 5% liver, and 5% other secreting organ (kidney, spleen, brain, ect).

If you follow those principles then they get everything they need over time. You don't need to feed organ at every meal, once a week is fine.

IMO ground does work, but it's a lot more work and you have to buy a grinder...those are fairly expensive for a good one and you need to know how to take it all apart to properly sanitize it. We do have members who love grinding their own's too much fuss for me personally and IMO chunks is better for your cats jaw and a good mental workout anyways.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
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I'll definitely read up a bit on the frankenprey model before we make final decisions.
As for the grinder it seems we may be in luck. My grandparents may have their old one packed up in the basement. Old, but well kept and solid if I know them well...and even better, free I'll be going this weekend to check it out, hopefully I get lucky!
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 03:41 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Troy, NY
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Yeah, the start-up cost can be prohibitive. A Tasin TS-108 grinder is about $150, and then the suppliments will also set you back (I'm planning on following the Pierson Diet). Once that is out of the way, though, the meat itself is cheaper than canned food. Dr. Pierson says her recipe with 3 pounds of meat will last one cat 10-14 days. So, 7 pounds of food will last a cat for a month. I can get 7 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs for less than $10 (every time I go food shopping I am checking the meat prices!).

Unfortunately, because I am still paying off ye olde credit card, I'll have to hold off on the raw for a bit. But will be busy anyway, working on transitioning if I wind up adopting a kibble addict next week!
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-11-2014, 05:51 PM
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Consider too, grinding only the bones. I grind the bones/organs, and chunk the rest of the meat. This makes it easy to mix together so I know they are getting the right amount of bones/organs over one months worth of meals. It also makes it easy to give one of my dogs a little bone every day, which helps keep her regular! I still add some supplements as well.

Fish oil is an easy one that I personally think just about every cat and dog should be on, on raw or not! It is great for joint health, makes the coat nice and soft, and lots of other good things. If you add fish oil, you need to make sure you are either giving fish oil that has vitamin E, or you add some in yourself, as fish oil depletes vitamin E from the system.

Taurine. I still add taurine. The smaller the chunks, and the longer it is exposed to air, the more this is depleted. Since it cannot be overdosed on, and the consequences of not having it are potentially deadly, I add some in. It is super cheap too.

Vitamin B12. I actually don't add this anymore. Since my diet is no longer mostly chicken, and I use only beef organs instead of chicken organs, I feel as though they are getting enough of this, and there is a potential for overdose if I were to supplement.

Iodine. This is the one supplement that I think even those that feed frankenprey need to consider adding. It is essential for thyroid health, and not easily found unless you are feeding whole prey. A little bit of Morton's Lite Salt is all you need! Eggs might also work.

Zinc. This is something I have been experimenting with because I make a dog/cat food combo. Beef is simply too expensive for me to regularly feed, and the main thing my diet is missing because of this is zinc. This is another one you have to be careful with, as the potential for overdose is there. For a months worth of food for 2 dogs and a cat I add only 3 crushed pills.

Hmm... I feel like I'm missing something. Oh well! That's what I can remember off the top of my head.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 06:34 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Great info!! The information on the supplements is excellent Kytkatten. I've read up on some of the supplements, but stuff like not being able to overdose on Tuarine is excellent! Vitamin B12 is surprising to me, humans generally just excrete any unused vitamin B, so cats are apparently different, very important to know! It is a huge help knowing which ones I can "overshoot" in my measurements and which ones I need to be more cautious with.

We just got a full bag of kibble about a week ago (a big bag), so we're going to try to get through about half of it (though Ollie is getting at least half wet until the switch) before starting to try the raw. The bag is Orijen, so not a cheapie bag....we really don't want to waste all of it. It gives me time to do a bit more research, and get us set up to try the raw.

I may take Ollie in to get a blood test. The vet didn't seem to feel he needed one, she only did a uranalysis, but I'm thinking a baseline before the switch might not be a good idea. Not excited about spending the extra cash, but I think it might be a good idea.

I think I've decided, we're at least going to TRY the raw, it can't hurt if that free meat grinder works. If the cats go well on raw I might even consider switching the dogs....(there's more research to do lol).

I'm open to any more input anyone else has!! Excellent info, and I'm keeping notes!
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-12-2014, 02:22 PM
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All good advice here. I transitioned my four last Sept; using Ann Jablonksi's recipe (almost identical to Lisa Piersons) and they have never looked back. I chunk as much of the meat as I can and grind the bones.
It has helped my IBD/Colitis girl; Lisbeth hugely. Her weight has stabilised and her attacks have dropped from 5-6 /week to one in 5 months.
Mme Coco who was very obese and had been on 'diet' food for years, has lost nearly 1kg. She isn't hungry, doesn't beg for food and is content. Her dandruff; which she's has all her life, has also resolved.
I feed on a schedule - three meals a day, which works for us and would never go back to kibble. We were feeding Orijen; which we changed to from Iams in an effort to help Lisbeth's IBD, which is pretty $$$ here and their Raw costs about the same or a little less per month. It takes me about 1 1/2 hours to make a two week batch for four cats.

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